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Lecture 3

ANTA01 - Lecture 3.docx

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Genevieve Dewar

ANTA01 – Week 3 – September 27, 2012 Methods of studying the Past: Archaeology and Biological Anthropology - Where o Survey and Sampling - What o Archaeological recovery - When o Relative and Absolute dating - How o Theoretical approaches and Environments and Diet - Who o Burial context and Osteological methods of identifying age at death , sex, health, disease, behavior - Why Where did people live? - Archaeological sites : Where people lived or carried out activities - Artefacts: Objects made by people - Ecofacts: Ecological debris such as animal bone - Features : Non portable remains graves or walls Survey - Morphological features o Sources of water, clay, iron ore, firewood wtc. - Local and oral histories o Troy/Heinrich Schleimann - Field Survey o Surface walking o Subsurface investigations  Electrical Resistivity Survey  Proton Magnetometry  Ground Penetrating Radar o Random Testing  Test pitting Sampling - Lab Analysis o Inform us on where to look and where not to look What materials did they leave behind? - Careful excavation o Spatial contexts /associations o Provenience (Relationship between 3 dimensional space that each artefact has) o Assemblage (Relationship between all of the artefacts/ecofacts in an area) - Sieved - Sorted When did human activites occur? - Relative dating methods o Stratigraphy o Seriation o Self dating o Self dating o Cross dating - Absolute dating methods Dates in the Distant Past - Before Present (BP) 1950 AD - Years ago (ya) - Thousands of years ago (kya) - Millions of years ago (mya) - Most dates are averaged over spans of many years o “1 000 000 years ago” really means something like “between about 900 000 and 1 100 000 ya”  Most years are not precise Stratigraphy and Law of Superposition - Deposit of sediment, lowest is the oldest, highest is the more recent - Mountain folding, earthquakes can cause new sediment to go to the bottom Seriation - Measuring change through time due to changes in technology, raw materials or styles of artefacts o Styles appear, gradually achieve some measure of acceptance and then become outdated and gradually disappear Self-dated objects (Ex. Gravestones, painting of sculptures, books, calenders, coins] - Objects which have actual dates on them o Coins, tombstones, letters - Objects which reflect events of known date o A basketball, for example, dates after the invention of the game in December 1891 - Remember that people save souvenirs o Cannot date from a period earlier than that date o May date form a later period o Restricted to the last 200 years or less Cross – Dating - Sites or strata with similar fossils, artifact styles or technologies are similar in age Dendochronology - Every year, every tree and busy grows outward by adding a layer of wood around its trunk. There annual layers are light in colour. o In good years, the tree grows a lot and its light coloured layer is wide o In bad years, the tree doesn’t grow as much and the light coloured layer is narrow - When a tree is cut down, one can tell how old it is by counting the number or rings (annual growth layers) from its edge to its centre - We have tree ring date up to 13 000 years ago 14 Radiocarbon ( C) Dating - All forms of life contain carbon o So does food that organisms eat every day 14
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